Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to share ideas and to make cultural shifts toward a just world. Telling the stories of how our people are experimenting with innovative approaches to economic development is one way that we can contribute to transitioning our region’s economy. Building off of the long tradition of Appalachian storytelling and community-made media, former App Fellow, Mae Humiston started Breaking Beans: The Appalachian Food Story Project with the Community Farm Alliance (CFA) back in 2014. What started as a monthly, hour-long radio show on WMMT (Appalashop’s community radiostation), grew into a multi-media project that features written pieces, photos, and audio interviews featuring stories of Appalachian farmers and food advocates growing the Eastern Kentucky local foods economy.
This Spring, I joined CFA’s amazing Sister Kathy Curtis and Maggie Smith on the Breaking Beans team and expanded the focus of the project to cover fiber agriculture. Throughout the fellowship, I will be interviewing fiber farmers, processors, makers, and entrepreneurs who are paving the way for a strong natural fiber economy in Kentucky and the broader Appalachian region.
For our first fiber podcast, I was lucky enough to collaborate with App Fellow, Hope Hart of Appalshop, who took pictures for the project. Together we visited two farms, herded alpaca, fed a lamb, spent time with two wise female fiber farmers, and learned a whole lot about the natural fiber system in Kentucky. Check out the first fiber podcast, Stories from the Field. In addition, check out our extended interview and blogpost on Alvina Maynard, Kentucky alpaca farmer and fiber entrepreneur, Alpaca, Fiber Farming, and the Emerging Slow Fashion Movement.
And make sure to look out for written pieces and more beautiful photos over the next months!